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When most people think of portable classrooms they picture trailers in their mind. Office trailers are often used as portable classrooms, typically to solve short-term space needs. Modern portable classrooms are regularly modular buildings, too, which are larger and more attractive. Modular classrooms can also be used on a semi-permanent basis.
If you’re short on space and limited by time then consider renting or buying a portable classroom. Portable classrooms are designed to solve immediate space needs. Whether you have an unexpected spike in enrollment or need extra space during a renovation project a portable classroom trailer may be the right solution.
A portable classroom can be up and running within a matter of weeks. While traditional construction can take years, a portable classroom can be set up and equipped while students are away for summer break or in a shorter amount of time if needed.
Portable Classroom Average Costs
Portable classroom trailers are far less expensive than modular buildings. They can be leased for anywhere from $100 to $500 per month and purchased from $15,000 to $45,000. Keep in mind that you’ll have to pay several thousand upfront for delivery and setup. With a lease, plan on spending $10,000 or more the first year and $1,500 to $6,000 every year thereafter.
Portable trailers for schools tend to cost more than trailers that are used in private industry because they have to be equipped with certain features to meet state and federal regulations. You’ll need fire extinguishers, bathrooms, a handicapped accessible ramp, and proper heating and air conditioning systems. Don’t be surprised if the price that you’re quoted falls on the high end of the ranges above.
Modular building prices are more difficult to predict because there are more options when it comes to size and features. Modular portable classrooms are customized in the factory to meet your space requirements and/or match the look and feel of your permanent structures.
Modular portable classroom can also be leased or purchased, although purchasing is more economical for long-term use. They sell for $40 to $200 per square foot, depending largely on size and the amount of customization you require. Total costs range from $50,000 to $200,000.
Portable Classroom Trailer vs. Modular Classroom
If you need a very short-term solution, a portable trailer is your best bet. They’re not as attractive and far less customizable, but they’re affordable. Trailers are a great option if you need extra space for a couple months during a renovation, for example.
Modular portable classrooms are ideal for longer-term use. Modern modular buildings are designed to be durable - they can last up to 50 years. Unlike permanent construction, they can be moved from one location to another as your space needs change. If a school across town suddenly becomes overcrowded, a modular portable classroom can be moved to that location using a flatbed truck.
With both types of portable classrooms, 90% of the construction takes place in a factory. Your classroom will arrive complete with doors, windows, bathrooms, carpeting, plumbing and wiring, so there’s little that needs to be done when it arrives on site.